Jamal Crawford Excited About Atlanta
When reached by FanHouse, Crawford was thrilled about the chance to return to the Eastern Conference and play with a club that has advanced to the playoffs the past two seasons. Crawford said he signed an agreement that he would not opt out of the final two years of his contract, as was his option by June 30.
"This is what I've been searching for, I didn't think it would happen like this or this fast but I am excited," said Crawford, who has played 597 games with no playoff appearances. "My agents called me [Wednesday] and said it was close and it was Atlanta. I was just ecstatic. They are an up-and-coming team, and I want to see if I fit in there."
Crawford was traded to the Warriors in November but his style did not mesh with that of coach Don Nelson. Golden State management indicated they would attempt to trade the 29-year-old Crawford if he did not opt out of his contract. With $19 million remaining in a tough economic landscape, that was highly unlikely."You do the right thing and it works out for you. Hopefully this will be a happy ending."
- Jamal Crawford
"I think it will be great for both sides," said Crawford, who averaged 19.7 points, 4.4 assists and three rebounds in 65 games last season with New York and Golden State. "This definitely seems on paper [like I am the missing piece]. Those guys have great chemistry. They have a bunch of unselfish guys, very professional. I think coach [Mike] Woodson does a good job. I talked to coach and the brass today and everybody is just ecstatic."
The Hawks have some question marks heading into next season. Starting point guard Mike Bibby and reserve guard Flip Murray are free agents. Crawford is a combo guard with strong ball-handling and scoring skills and will get a chance to play with Jeff Teague, who was drafted 19th. The Hawks' most talented player is Joe Johnson, who can play either the shooting guard or small forward, making Atlanta versatile at many positions.
"I've watched them, I've played against them for a while being in the East," he said. "I have seen them grow and grow and it seems like a very stable situation. We have the same core and we're moving forward. They made the second round without me. The East is getting tougher with Shaq going to Cleveland and Vince Carter going to Orlando, but I'm going to Atlanta and I am very excited about it.
"We're just deep, I like where were at."
For Crawford, landing in Atlanta was a blessing considering the Golden State brass said publicly he wasn't part of their future plans. Crawford is the latest player to clash with Nelson, who also knocked heads with former GM Chris Mullin.
"If you look at back, my numbers [in Golden State] we're basically the same as New York," he said. "I did the same things. I did what I was asked and for some reason it went the route it went. But I don't hold grudges. They were some other [worse] places they could have sent me off to. But it's finally turning around, you do the right thing and it works out for you. Hopefully this will be a happy ending."